Beck regrets not giving Weird Al Yankovic permission to parody ‘Loser’ in the ’90s

At the time he thought it would be career suicide

Beck has said that he regrets rejecting Weird Al Yankovic’s request to parody ‘Loser’.

Yankovic had asked to cover Beck’s hit in the mid-’90s but he turned him down, fearing that he was already not being taken seriously as an artist.

At the time of Beck’s breakout success with ‘Loser’, he was facing what he today remembers as a barrage of negative press.

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Beck said in a preview of his upcoming Audible Original premiered by Billboard that he was worried the move would vindicate industry bosses and journalists who regarded his songs as “hodgepodge ideas” that weren’t “real songs”.

Beck
Beck performs onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards “Let’s Go Crazy” The GRAMMY Salute To Prince on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

“‘Weird Al’ Yankovic tried to do a parody of it. It was going to be called ‘Schmoozer’,” Beck recalled in the preview. “I regret denying him permission to do it. I think it would have been an amazing video. I’m actually really sad it didn’t happen.

“I had a lot of people who were veterans in the business telling me at 20, 21, 22, ‘You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The songs, as they are, aren’t going to work. They’re too rough. They’re too raw. They’re not real songs. These are kind of, like, sort of hodgepodge ideas.'”

“[‘Loser’] wasn’t really taken seriously at all. And when it came out and it was popular, it still wasn’t taken that serious at all.”

"Weird Al" Yankovic
“Weird Al” Yankovic attends Disney Studios’ premiere of ‘Encanto’ at El Capitan Theatre on November 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California CREDIT: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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He continued: “I mean, you can go back to the press of the day. I just remember myriad articles and headlines of, ‘One-hit wonder joke band Beck,’ ‘Novelty act.’ I remember there was a review in a big paper in LA once, and it was not a lot of kindness. I felt very dismissed and kind of, like, a bit of a footnote.”

But Beck went on to have a successful career, with his subsequent album ‘Mellow Gold’ (1994) being both a critical and commercial success. He has since won multiple awards including eight Grammys.

In other news, Beck is among several acts including Animal Collective and Jeff Tweedy appearing on a serialised birdsong-inspired compilation album.

‘For The Birds: The Birdsong Project’ is being released in five monthly stages between May and September 2022. The first volume arrived on May 20.

Nick Cave & Warren EllisKaren OKamasi Washington, Terry Riley, Mary Lattimore, Tyondai Braxton, and Elvis Costello are among the other artists that feature on the expansive compilation.

Meanwhile, Beck is due to go on tour with Arcade Fire in October.

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